Getting a Skin Check – Why it is so Vital?
Most of us know that protecting ourselves from and keeping out of the sun is the most important step for avoiding skin cancer. However, getting caught in the sun can sometimes happen. A skin check is critical, in early detection.
Australian’s have high statistics when it comes to skin cancer rates, with two in three Australian’s diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. And the major cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) in sunlight. But the sooner a skin cancer is detected, the better your chances are for more effective and less invasive treatment. Over 95% of skin cancers can be successfully treated if found early. That’s why it is so important to regularly check your skin and in addition, have professional skin check ups once a year. Professional skin check ups will examine your skin thoroughly, beyond what the naked eye can see and will provide medical advice.
Who is at risk of skin cancer?
Everyone is at risk of skin cancer.
A tan only offers limited protection from sunburn, approximately equivalent to SPF3 depending on your skin type. Those who have fair skin, a large number of moles, red hair or a family history of skin cancer may be at more risk.
Screening for skin cancer
Skin cancer can develop quickly, so the best way to check for skin cancer is becoming familiar with your ‘normal’ skin and regularly checking it yourself. By regularly checking your skin, including areas which are rarely exposed to the sun, means that you’ll quickly notice if a spot changes or a new spot appears. Steps for screening your skin include
- Ensure you have good lighting
- Scan your skin for any new spots and changes to spots (use the ABCD detection steps shown below)
- Ask someone (or use mirrors) to check for areas which are hard to see
By knowing your ‘normal’ skin you’ll be able to identify any changes. When you notice any changes it may mean that you need treatment so contact your GP or dermatologist.
How often should you have a professional skin check? Why do I need a professional skin check?
There is currently no formal requirement for professional skin checks but those at risk of melanoma should regularly check their skin and have annual checks by a GP or dermatologist.
A professional skin check will provide a thorough and close examination of moles through a number of tools and techniques. Your GP or dermatologist will also provide medical advice and further medical recommendations if required.
Remember, most skin cancers that are diagnosed and treated early can be cured.
What occurs in a skin check?
Even if you haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary it is still important to receive skin checks. Each clinic differs a little with what actually occurs in their skin checks but it usually is a 15-30 minute procedure. A typical procedure will begin with a discussion about your skin risk factors such as family history and skin type. Your doctor will often ask you to identify any spots that are of concern to you before examining. You will then have a full body examination where the doctor or dermatologist will be looking closely at your skin with a dermatoscope to see if something doesn’t look right. The doctor will decide if you need to return to have abnormal spots photographed for ongoing assessment or removed.
By completing regular skin checks can save your life through early detection. Contact Laser Clinics Adelaide for a professional skin check.